8 Easy Ways to Reduce Food Waste

Food waste is a big problem in the United States. As much as 40% of the food produced for human consumption goes uneaten and ends up in landfills. This wasted food adds up to an estimated $162 billion per year loss at the consumer level, and it accounts for 20 percent of all freshwater used in America annually.

Additionally, methane gas emissions from uneaten food add tremendously to global warming effects. If uneaten food was left out and exposed to air, it would decompose and release its carbon dioxide after several days. Question is, how can you reduce food waste?

You can do so much to minimize or eliminate the amount of food you waste entirely. In this guide, we’re going to look at some insightful environmentally friendly tips on reducing food waste.

1. Educate Yourself About Portion Sizes

Many people do not realize how much food they should eat at every meal. They’ll often go over their recommended serving size by two or three times what it should be. This is because most people, on average, tend to overestimate the number of calories needed per day.

They also underestimate the number of calories they consume daily. If you know your recommended calorie intake and stick to it, you will learn how much food is enough for an individual serving. This, over time, will reduce food waste.

2. Eat All of Your Leftovers

Leftover food is a big source of wasted food and money in America. Many people simply don’t want to eat the same thing for two meals in a row, and by the third day, they simply want something fresh. By the time they get to it, the leftover food is already gone bad and ends up in the trash bin.

However, one of the best ways to reduce food waste is to make new dishes out of old ones. If you have rice from dinner last night, add some beans and vegetables to it today to make fried rice with tofu. Even better, use that leftover chicken in a Caesar salad.

There are dozens of recipes on the internet that use ingredients in creative ways. Check them out and see what you can come up with before deciding to discard anything.

3. Only Buy as Much Food as You Need

Before going to the store or grocery shop, take a look at what you have in your fridge and make a grocery list of items that are running low. Make sure to only buy the amount on the list, plus some extra for emergencies.

It’s easy to get caught up when looking at prices and stock levels and decide to go above and beyond your usual purchase. However, you need to resist that urge. More often than not, bulk buying ends up as wasted food and money.

4. Eat Produce Before It Goes Bad

If there is any chance you’ll not be able to eat fresh fruits or vegetables in time, freeze them before they go bad. Apples can be cut into pieces and frozen, while bananas can be peeled, sliced, and blended into smoothies.

Almost all types of food can be frozen, so there’s no need to waste fresh produce. If you don’t have a freezer capacity to fit all your food, then purchase fewer products that you’ll consume before it goes back.

5. Donate Leftover Food

If you grow food in your garden and have a surplus, donate to your neighbors or the less fortunate. Did you grow too much zucchini, tomatoes, pumpkins, or any produce this year? Donate the extra food to your local soup kitchen or homeless shelter.

Give your neighbor some fruit from your tree, so not all of it goes to waste. Many people are happy to take the leftover food off of somebody else’s hands because they cannot afford to buy enough fresh goods themselves. Someone can benefit from your generosity and reduce their own food waste in the process.

6. Buy Only What You Can Fit In Your Fridge

This goes hand in hand with not buying more than you need when going to the store, but it’s worth mentioning again. Even when shopping from a list, Americans have been conditioned to buy bulk amounts of food. Some people more than they could fit in the fridge because they found it on discounts, which is okay.

However, it’s not if you know for a fact that you can’t consume all that food before it goes bad. If you get in the habit of shopping for only what you can fit in your fridge, then you’ll be in a better position to reduce food waste. 

7. Plan Out Your Meals

If you prepare your meals ahead of time, you can easily reduce food waste. There are countless tools and mobile apps on the internet that can help with meal planning, most of which are free. Try making a week’s worth of menus on one of these sites to reduce food waste.

When you know what you’ll be cooking all week, then you know what to buy once you get to the store. This allows you to avoid buying what you don’t need and hence reduce any chances of wasting food.

8. Buy Foods That Don’t Spoil Quickly

When shopping for foods with long shelf lives, try to keep in mind that you want them in your house for a while. If you want to buy in bulk when you have enough money, buy things like rice, pasta, loose leaf tea, and other dry goods that last much longer.

With these foods in stock, you can buy a few fresh foods every week or after a few days to avoid kitchen waste. Alternatively, buy frozen fresh produce and freeze your meats if you want to stock for a while.

The Only Guide You Need to Reduce Food Waste

Are you looking for ways to reduce food waste in your home? These are some of the best environmentally friendly tips on food reduction. These tips are super easy for any homeowner and you’ll not only save food but money as well.

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